Niagara Gazette

Local News

July 3, 2013

City of Tonawanda building's facade collapses Wednesday

Niagara Gazette — The front facade of a mixed-use commercial building on Main Street in the City of Tonawanda collapsed early Wednesday morning, fire officials said. 

The building, located at 71 Main St., houses a barbershop and a law office. 

Fire Chief Charles Stuart said officials noticed a few weeks ago that the brick that made up the front of the facade was starting to sag and bulge outward at the top part of the roof. 

“Then one of our firefighters saw it yesterday and said it had became much worse,” he said. 

Capt. Patrick McNulty and Stuart went to inspect the structure Tuesday and saw that the brick was about eight inches out of whack. McNulty notified the owner of both businesses, and shut down access to the front part of the building.

“Both occupants told us they had been hearing creaking noises, which is an indicator of building collapse,” he said. 

Fire officials also contacted a contractor who was set to begin the repair in two weeks. 

“We said it had to be done now, and he said he would come first thing in the morning,” Stuart said.

But at 6:10 a.m., a woman who lives across the street from the structure called 911 and said she heard a loud crash. Stuart said the front facade of the building had collapsed onto the sidewalk. 

“It wasn’t very surprising,” Stuart said. “We are just lucky no one was in there.” 

Stuart said there were no injuries and no collateral damage to the adjacent buildings. Fire officials also checked the gas and electric lines to make sure they were intact. 

The contractor is now completing a repair of the front of the structure. 

 

 

 

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